CLEVELAND, OH - OCTOBER 25: Commissioner of Baseball Rob Manfred watches Game One of the 2016 World Series between the Chicago Cubs and the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field on October 25, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.
(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Rob Manfred and the MLBPA have held discussions that could lead to the end of the 2020 MLB season if the COVID-19 response doesn’t improve. 

Jeff Passan of ESPN is reporting that Rob Manfred and MLBPA president Tony Clark have held a discussion regarding the league’s response to COVID-19. According to Passan, Manfred told Clark that if the league’s response doesn’t improve, they could shut down the 2020 MLB season.

One of Manfred’s biggest gripes is that many players aren’t following protocol. Every night they’re seen high-fiving, hugging, spitting, and some players don’t wear masks out of the park. These were simple rules MLB put forth, but some players are ignoring these easy-to-follow guidelines.

It’s easy to see why Manfred would be upset that players aren’t following them, but he’s just as much to blame. Manfred and MLB haven’t disciplined any players or teams for this behavior, which is the same as condoning it.

I wrote early this week that this was an issue. Manfred and MLB issue new rules every year that players ignore and nobody enforces. MLB gets upset that games aren’t shortened, which leads to more drastic changes that fans hate.

If MLB can’t expect batters to stay in the batter’s box, a rule passed years ago that nobody follows, how could they expect them to follow these rules? The easiest way to ensure compliance is by actually enforcing them.

Sadly, MLB would rather hand out eight-game suspensions to players who were headhunting, instead of punishing players for ignoring coronavirus guidelines and endangering everyone.

This is why Manfred’s reported discussion is so worrying. He’s seemingly putting the blame entirely on the players and teams, absolving himself and MLB of any wrongdoing. Manfred has to know that he’s in charge of the league. If it fails, that’s on him and nobody else.

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